Fartashphoto's Blog

Dirty Bomb

Posted in Uncategorized by fartashphoto on May 30, 2010

In order for a terrorist organization to construct and detonate a dirty bomb, they must acquire radioactive material (Low-enriched Uranium) by stealing it or buying it through legal or illegal channels. Possible RDD material could come from the millions of radioactive sources used worldwide in the industry, for medical purposes and in academic applications mainly for research. Dirty bombs would be constructed of conventional explosives and radioactive material, the detonation of which would result in the dispersion of the radioactive material contained in the bomb.

Since a dirty bomb is unlikely to cause many deaths, many do not consider this to be a weapon of mass destruction. Its purpose would presumably be to create psychological, not physical, harm through ignorance, mass panic, and terror. For this reason dirty bombs are sometimes called “weapons of mass disruption”.

Osama Bin Laden has made no secret of his ambition to join the nuclear club — he has even proclaimed it a “religious duty” for Muslim states to acquire nuclear, chemical and biological weapons to attack the West. But intelligence officials believe that the best he has managed to achieve, thus far, is a limited membership of that club, in the form of radioactive material that could be dispersed using conventional explosives — the so-called “dirty bomb.”

The situation in Georgia is made graver by the apparently strong possibility that al Qaeda may be present and active in the region.

The first attempt of radiological terror was carried out in November 1995 by a group of Chechen separatists, who buried a caesium-137 source wrapped in explosives at the Izmaylovsky Park in Moscow. A Chechen rebel leader alerted the media, the bomb was never activated, and the incident amounted to a mere publicity stunt.

In December 1998, a second attempt was announced by the Chechen Security Service, who discovered a container filled with radioactive materials attached to an explosive mine. The bomb was hidden near a railway line in the suburban area Argun, ten miles east of the Chechen capital of Grozny. The same Chechen separatist group was suspected to be involved.

In 2006, Dhiren Barot from North London pleaded guilty of conspiring to murder innocent people within the United Kingdom and United States using a radioactive dirty bomb. He planned to target underground car parks within the UK and buildings in the U.S. such as the International Monetary Fund, World Bank buildings in Washington D.C., the New York Stock Exchange, Citigroup buildings and the Prudential Financial buildings in Newark, New Jersey. He also faces 12 other charges including, conspiracy to commit public nuisance, seven charges of making a record of information for terrorist purposes and four charges of possessing a record of information for terrorist purposes. Experts say if the plot to use the dirty bomb was carried out “it would have been unlikely to cause deaths, but was designed to affect about 500 people.”

In January 2009, a leaked FBI report described the results of a search of the Maine home of James G. Cummings, a white supremacist who had been shot and killed by his wife. Investigators found four one-gallon containers of 35 percent hydrogen peroxide, uranium, thorium, lithium metal, thermite, aluminum powder, beryllium, boron, black iron oxide and magnesium as well as literature on how to build dirty bombs and information about cesium-137, strontium-90 and cobalt-60, radioactive materials. Officials confirmed the veracity of the report but stated that the public was never at risk.

In April 2009, the Security Service of Ukraine announced the arrest of a legislator and two businessmen from the Ternopil Oblast. Seized in the undercover sting operation was 3.7 kilograms of what was claimed by the suspects during the sale as plutonium-239, used mostly in nuclear reactors and nuclear weapons, but was determined by experts to likely be americium, a “widely used” radioactive material which is commonly used in amounts of less than 1 milligram in smoke detectors, but can also be used in a dirty bomb. The suspects reportedly wanted US$ 10 million for the material, which the Security Service determined was produced in Russia during the era of the Soviet Union and smuggled into Ukraine through a neighboring country.

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